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The GIA (Gemological Institute of America) is widely recognized as the world's foremost authority in gemology, including diamonds, colored stones, and pearls. Through research, education, and laboratory services, the GIA serves the public interest through objective gemstone evaluation, including identification.
You can purchase our gemstone jewelry with added confidence knowing that QVC incorporates the GIA's expertise into the QVC gemstone identification quality assurance process.
For more information on the GIA, visit www.GIA.edu.
For more information on the gemstones found at QVC, check out our gemstone glossary.
Many consumers know topaz as simply an inexpensive blue gem. They're surprised to learn that its blue color is hardly ever natural: It's almost always caused by treatment. They might also be surprised to know that topaz has so many more colors to offer gem lovers, including pinks and purples that rival the finest fancy sapphires. The color varieties are often identified simply by hue name—blue topaz, pink topaz, and so forth—but there are also a couple of special trade names. Imperial topaz is a medium reddish orange to orange-red. This is one of the gem's most expensive colors. Sherry topaz—named after the sherry wine—is a yellowish brown or brownish yellow to orange. Stones in this color range are often called precious topaz to help distinguish them from the similarly colored but less expensive citrine and smoky quartz.
Legend & Lore
Most authorities agree that the name topaz comes from Topazios, the old Greek name for a small island in the Red Sea, now called Zabargad. (The island never produced topaz, but it was once a source of peridot, which was confused with topaz before the development of modern mineralogy.) Some scholars trace the origin back to Sanskrit (an ancient language of India) and the word topas or tapaz, meaning "fire." The ancient Greeks believed that topaz gave them strength. In Europe during the Renaissance (the period from the 1300s to the 1600s) people thought that topaz could break magic spells and dispel anger. For centuries, many people in India have believed that topaz worn above the heart assures long life, beauty, and intelligence. Today, topaz is one of the US birthstones for November. The other is citrine quartz.
Topaz actually has an exceptionally wide color range that, besides brown, includes various tones and saturations of blue, green, yellow, orange, red, pink, and purple. Colorless topaz is plentiful, and is often treated to give it a blue color. Topaz is also pleochroic, meaning that the gem can show different colors in different crystal directions.
It's important to avoid steam or ultrasound for cleaning topaz: Warm, soapy water works best.
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Stone Information & Mining
Amethyst is the purple variety of the quartz mineral species. It's the gem that's most commonly associated with the color purple, even though there are other purple gemstones such as sapphire and tanzanite. Its purple color can be cool and bluish, or a reddish purple that's sometimes referred to as "raspberry."
Legend & Lore
Because of its wine-like color, early Greek legends associated amethyst with Bacchus, the god of wine. Other legends reflected beliefs that amethyst kept its wearer clear-headed and quick-witted in battle and in business affairs. Fine amethysts have been set in religious jewelry and royal crown jewels for ages. It was once considered equal in value to ruby, emerald, and sapphire. It's no wonder that fine amethyst adorns the fingers of bishops as well as the coronation regalia of British royalty.
Amethyst's purple color can range from a light lilac to a deep, intense royal purple and from brownish to vivid. Amethyst also commonly shows what is called color zoning, which in the case of amethyst usually consists of angular zones of darker to lighter color.
Amethyst can be safely cleaned with warm soapy water. Ultrasonic cleaners are usually safe except in the rare instances where a stone is dyed or treated by fracture filling. Steam cleaning is not recommended, and amethyst should not be subjected to heat.
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Some say a perfect princess cut looks like a pulsating, brilliant star. Developed in 1960 by diamond-cutter A. Nagy, the princess cut usually features 49 or 50 facets (but there can be more). The cut's lively appearance derives from a series of V-grooves scored on the back of the stone.